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Old 09-17-2014, 07:32 AM   #1
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Week 3 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 6-10. Season totals: 11-20-1, Pct. .359. Best Bets: 1-5, Pct. .167.

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.



THURSDAY NIGHT

ATLANTA
31, Tampa Bay 13 (+5 1/2) - The Bucs used to be an automatic bet on artificial turf - but that was when they had Josh Freeman under center (he was 12-3 against the line as a visitor on the carpet from 2009 through 2012); last year, however, they went 2-5 against the spread on it (and 1-6 straight up), and make their 2014 debut thereon in this one. And do you get the idea that no matter who Lovie Smith selects to be his starting quarterback as between Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, that Smith is making the wrong choice?


SUNDAY

N.Y. GIANTS
17 (+2 1/2), Houston 16 - Where is Weird Al Yankovic when I really need him? He could be writing a parody of Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever, with the title "Head Scratch Fever" - which would accurately denote what I've come down with after the first two weeks, entering which the Giants hadn't lost in Detroit since 1983, the Eagles hadn't covered against the Colts since '93, the Bears hadn't been close in any of their last eight on the road against the 49ers, the Broncos were winless in their last six vs. the Colts, and the Bills had never even come close to winning in Chicago. Yet all five did exactly that. And speaking of scratching - or more to the point, itching - the Texans appear to be absolutely allergic to artificial turf, upon which they have been you-can't-make-this-up lousy for the longest time: 3-9 straight up and 1-10-1 against the spread since 2011, and 6-29 and 10-24-1 respectively since 2004. And when you really get down to it, how much better is Ryan Fitzpatrick than Drew Stanton? So if the Giants can stamp out stupidity - turnovers and costly special-teams blunders - my persistence in picking them for a third straight week might pay off. As Count Basie, a native of nearby Red Bank, NJ, iconically voiced over: One mo' time (but don't look for me to follow it up with "Let's try it one more once," as Basie did, if the Giants don't come through this week).

NEW ENGLAND 34, Oakland 10 (+14) - The Raiders, who got pushed all over their home field by the NFL's defending caboose-riders last week, now find themselves back in an East Coast, early-time-slot, outdoor-carpet game again - and this time around they can't cover by a half-point on a late garbage touchdown as they did in the opener because this line is a whole number.

PHILADELPHIA 27, Washington 23 (+7) - The Eagles' wide receivers stink, post-DeSean Jackson. Says who? Says Chip Kelly, who is pointedly directing Nick Foles to throw elsewhere: Only 35.4 per cent of Foles' completions so far in 2014 (17 out of 48) have been to wide receivers, compared with 54.9 per cent (124 out 226, including the playoff game) in 2013. And these two teams have played the same team, both at home, in back-to-back weeks - and Washington beat that common opponent (Jacksonville) by 31 after leading throughout (and played virtually the entire game with a backup quarterback, who gets the start here as well), while the Eagles had to come from behind for a 17-point win. So do the math, and take the points - even if Jackson (left shoulder sprain) will be denied the opportunity for closure the same way Matt Schaub (who ended up losing Oakland's starting QB job to Derek Carr) was last week.

BUFFALO 23, San Diego 13 (+1) - Not sure if they can sustain it over the course of the entire season, but right now the Bills are a hot team, while the Chargers have been content to blow hot and cold - and mostly cold on rugs (3-7 both ways in this decade). Home team has also covered in the last five here, winning four straight up.

Indianapolis 33, JACKSONVILLE 10 (+7) - Debunking the myth of the NFL having a 16-game season: It is actually a three-game season, in that no team that has started out 0-3 has made the playoffs in any of the last five years! Maybe if such teams had two more games to catch up, one of them might actually make it one of these years? But I doubt if the Colts have to worry too much about 0-3, facing a team they have crushed three straight by a combined 94-23; and unless you can honestly envision the Jaguars having the ball with two minutes left in the game and a chance to tie it or win it, there isn't much sense in even taking the points.

CLEVELAND 23 (+1), Baltimore 20 - Will the title of the 2014 Cleveland Browns highlight film be Johnny Can Wait? But all I know is that I'm not going to go broke waiting for Brian Hoyer to implode - or for Joe Flacco to revive his echoes on natural grass: After going 14-5 straight up in his first 19 grass starts, he's 7-10 since.

CINCINNATI 31, Tennessee 17 (+6 1/2) - The Bengals are 10-1 both ways in their last eleven in the City Of Satan - the lone loss coming in the playoffs, where neither Andy Dalton nor Marvin Lewis are known to shine. Titans looked discouragingly listless in their home opener against Dallas; but then again, wouldn't simply throwing out one of the two fastest players in the game in last spring's trash tend to make a team look listless - maybe just a little around the edges?

GREEN BAY 30 (+2 1/2), Detroit 14 - The second half in Carolina pretty much confirmed it: New season, same old Lions - and the same old Lions who are 2-15 straight up and 4-12-1 against the spread in their last 17 against Green Bay, including 2-6 both ways at home, in both cases needing an Aaron Rodgers injury to win. Playing all three of their NFC North rivals in the next three weeks, two of them on the road, the Packers have the chance to pretty much wrap the division up early - and don't bet against them doing it.

ST. LOUIS 16 (+1), Dallas 13 - Were the short-staffed Rams that game in Tampa last Sunday, or were the Bucs that lame? In any event, you cannot ignore the recent ridiculous home domination of this series - four straight wins and covers, and by a collective margin of 134 to 35.

NEW ORLEANS 31, Minnesota 10 (+9 1/2) - Just as they abjectly caved into the pressure in those four Super Bowls they played in four decades ago, the Vikings have done it again, placing Adrian Peterson on the "exempt list," suspending him indefinitely in everything but name. That means - bad joke, I know - that the Vikings are going to get spanked again, this time by a team desperate to evade a de-facto season-ending 0-3 start in their belated home opener.

San Francisco 23, ARIZONA 14 (+2 1/2) - Colin Kaepernick became the first victim of Roger Goodell's apparently Demolition Man-inspired "language penalty" (that must have been Goodell's favorite Stallone movie) during last Sunday night's meltdown in Santa Clara. But neither the 49ers nor their backers have done much in the way of cussing when they have played the Cards lately, against whom they're won nine of ten and covered in eight of them since 2009. And preliminary indications point to no Carson Palmer (nerve damage to shoulder) for at least one more game.

MIAMI 24, Kansas City 21 (+5) - The Chiefs have injuries all over the place, I know - but unlike when the Dolphins upset New England in Week 1, this one's in the late time slot, significantly detracting from Miami's home advantage. Take the points - in that a loss here means a virtually guaranteed 0-5 record (from which no team has ever rallied for so much as a winning season, let alone a playoff berth) going into their Week 6 bye for the Chiefs (next up for them are New England at home, followed by at San Francisco, Santa Clara, wherever).

SEATTLE 34, Denver 20 (+4 1/2) - The usual media suspects would rather talk about Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson than this redux of last February's first-ever cold-weather Super Bowl; but besides having been in cold weather, it was also on artificial turf, where the Broncos haven't exactly excelled of late, as in 9-14 straight up and 7-16 against the spread since 2007. It will be closer the second time around - but not by all that much.

Pittsburgh 20 (+3 1/2), CAROLINA 17 - Cam Newton still needs more help than he's getting from the rest of the team and the Steelers, with three extra days to prepare for this game, have blasted Carolina four consecutive times by 124-40. And the great thing about the three-and-a-half-point spread is that Newton can drive the Panthers down for a game-winning field goal and you still cover.


MONDAY NIGHT

Chicago
21, N.Y. JETS 16 (P) - Pick 'em is probably the perfect line for this one, as both teams have managed to cram a great deal of inconsistency into just two weeks. The Bears have won three in a row over the Jets - but we have all seen how much things like that have meant thus far this season. Hopefully all the head-scratching will stop now?


BEST BETS: ATLANTA, INDIANAPOLIS, GREEN BAY

Last edited by Anthony; 09-19-2014 at 09:52 AM.
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